Qatar Airways Introduces Mandatory Face Shields For Passengers

Passengers boarding a Qatar Airways flight from today will be provided a face shield, in addition to gloves and masks, that they will need to wear throughout the trip. This new measure is part of a more significant return to service by the airline, whom on July 1st relaunched to eleven destinations.

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Qatar flight attendant wearing the new protective gear. Photo: Qatar Airways

The new Qatar face shield rules.

Qatar Airways has implemented a new face shield policy for all passengers and crew onboard its aircraft. A face shield is a see-through plastic sheet that covers from the top of someone’s head to the bottom of the neck. The purpose of the shield is to prevent droplets of saliva from sneezing or coughing from spraying around the cabin. Even minor coughs can launch particles unseen to the naked eye a substantial distance.

The new rules are as follows:

  • All economy passengers must use face shields throughout the flight, apart from when eating or drinking.
  • Business passengers don’t need to use face shields throughout the flight once seated, as they have their own space in the cabin. They can choose to isolate themselves for the duration of the flight by closing the suite door and marking themselves ‘do not disturb’.

Qatar will provide all passengers face shield (in two sizes, one for adults and another for children) at the gate when boarding an aircraft as part of a personal protection equipment kit (PPE).

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The new protective kit handed out to Qatar passengers (center). Photo: Qatar Airways

This kit also includes gloves, a face mask, and a bottle of hand sanitizer (business class will get two bottles). If leaving from the Qatar hub in Doha, passengers will given their PPE at the check-in desk so they can use it to traverse the airport.

“Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, the safety of our passengers has been our highest priority. By introducing these additional onboard safety and hygiene measures, our customers can rely on us and our unparalleled expertise to fly them safely to their destination,” said Mr. Akbar Al Baker, the CEO of Qatar Airways.

“As the largest international airline flying consistently throughout the pandemic, we have become one of the most experienced in safety and hygiene. We will continue to lead the industry in terms of the services offered to our passengers so that they can travel with confidence.”

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The two new face shields, with the adult size on the left and children size on the right. Photo: Qatar Airways

What other measures is Qatar taking to ensure the health of its passengers?

Qatar is also rolling out several other initiatives to ensure the health and wellbeing of its passengers.

The airline has changed meal service to reduce social contact. The airline no longer has menu cards for the economy cabin (and are single-use in business class), and meals arrive sealed. Business-class meals are on a covered tray (opposed to table service), and the airline pre-wraps cutlery in sanitized conditions. All common areas onboard (such as the bar area on the A380) have been closed.

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Inside the PPE kit for passengers. Photo: Qatar Airways

In addition to wearing face shields, flight crew members now wear disposable protective gowns fitted over their uniforms, which they change after every flight. The airline screens the crew for symptoms after every flight, and after every segment the aircraft goes through a deep clean.

Qatar has positioned itself well as the connecting airline during the coronavirus crisis and intends to reconnect destinations over the coming weeks slowly. On July 1st, Qatar reopened eleven destinations, and by the end of the month, plans to operate up to 65 destinations worldwide.

What do you think? Do you want to wear a face shield when flying? Let us know in the comments.

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